Tag Archive: religious

Letting nostalgia define our vision…

antique2Habakkuk’s cry in his prophecy is a stirring inspiration for prayer, “O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?”  Those words, “HOW LONG? are deeply emotive. I think God wants them in our peripheral vision.  They are more than nostalgia, they are a cry for God’s intervention.  It is a prayer that God intends to answer.

The church may at times suffer from revival-promise fatigue i and needs gently encouraging. Such lassitude ii is not what you need when it comes to gaining, or strengthening a scripture-honouring vision for God’s purpose for ourselves and for the Church. So what’s the answer?

Mirriam Webster defined Nostalgia as, “a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition”. The New Testament is full of the drama of God. It was an exciting time to live – more so (and perhaps only)if you were one of the disciples.  In the midst of the political, social and economic upheaval of the day living under Roman rule, in the fullness of time, comes the hero of all hero’s in the person of Jesus.

His mission as God rescuing man from God, destroying the works of the evil one and reconciling man to God was a truly phenomenal one.  Accompanying it was audacious, powerful and amazing miracles, signs, wonders, wisdom, expressions of love and grace.   Lavish, infinite grace.

The preaching was crystal clear, unambiguous, challenging and emancipating.  Another good word.   Add to the mix shortly after Jesus’ ministry, the Mensa level teaching, preaching and exhortation of Paul as he inspires the Church with the epistles, gazing without blinking at time and history, interpreting Jesus’ very actions, the agenda of the God-man and the eternal mystery of the trinity.    Without trying too hard.

The teaching, the preaching, the signs and wonders – the very presence of God; and then there are the countless thousands upon thousands of people who came to Christ, these are what forms our ocean-deep nostalgia.

That’s why our stories are profoundly important.  Look back into history and see them there, standing tall in every generation.  Remember, retell – imagine what it was like. The sounds, the smells, the excitement and the astonishment, not forgetting the tears of repentance and uncontainable joy.   Remember Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Whitfield, Wesley, Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones,  Stott… The list goes on and on as a tribute to the redemptive glory of Jesus the Christ. No one compares with Him.

If there is a vision we require for the future it has to be one that is borne out of the nostalgia of Biblical and Church history, wrapped carefully, thoughtfully and enthusiastically with the promise of Isaiah 43:19.   Look back at all the old stories of what God did in the past and allow God to begin to impart a fresh, invigorating vision of what He can do with and through you, your family, your Church and for others.

It’s a brilliant day – because it’s full of potential. He is the good of provision, protection goodness, love and breakthrough – and His faithfulness has no frontiers.

  1. The prophetic encouragement to the church, that God is going to send revival and that the church needs to keep praying and seeking God, can be met with dismay, disappointment and disillusionment if after a long period they are still hearing the same message – but not seeing anything significant in their midst  (back)
  2. my favourite new word  (back)

Waiting for the new prophets.

ChairWith the exception of the Pensacola revival led by the Turkish Born, American Evangelist Stephen Hill in which over a hundred thousand were saved after responding to hearing the gospel, anyone under 21 has not seen a genuine, world-wide move of God’s Spirit.

Yes, that’s about evangelists, but let me disturb  your comfort. In the 1990’s prophets emerged, some of which have gone on to their reward with the Lord, and others have made their way through the thick darkness of cynicism, cessationist and liberal theology and also, the demeaning and cruel accusation of ‘strange fire’ i.

  The fact is that God has not left us alone to our own devices. The Word of God is infallible and inerrant, ii and not only that, He applies the truth of the Scriptures in prophecy that brings overwhelming courage, hope and promise to the heart of the believer.

Paul the Apostle was insistent, all of the church, not a mere isolated individual, are encouraged to eagerly desire the gifts of the Holy Spirit (God’s much needed gifts to the Church), especially the gift of prophecy. The problem is, the only example many have of prophetic ministry is a tarnished one.

This is a day when some so-called prophetic ministries are no longer a part of a local church, are not responsible, accountable and committed to a local church and its leadership. Some of these are using their ‘gifting’ to make money too – asking for donations or small costs for interpreting dreams, visions and now the greatest travesty of all, tattoo interpretation.

So the question is, do our youngsters under the age of 20 want to follow some of the outrageous things they have seen?

The answer is, we need to set an example of godly, scripture-honouring, Christ-exalting and God-glorifying ministry reflected by our pursuit of righteousness and personal holiness and our commitment not only to the Bible, but to prayer, accountability to Leaders who don’t always let us have our way, and to the local Church.

Christ died for the Church, not para-church ministries – well, that’s what the Bible says!

We want our young people to take the seat that is placed before them, to walk in intimacy and loving relationship with God, honouring the Word of God above all things, not worried by the accusation of others that they are Bible worshipers, people also giving themselves to prayer and the teaching of the apostles, and never neglecting the fellowship of the saints – our family, and those who we willingly serve.

It’s a big challenge – but a radical one.

There is room in the church today for fresh faces, fresh ideas and new challenges that cause not only us, but thousands of others to come running to God with all our hearts as the wonderful Saviour that He is.

And to also come back to the word of God.

Encourage the youngsters by leading them yourself. Stir up the gift that God has given you, and don’t dare to call God a liar by saying you don’t have any gift. And please, don’t be pathetic – be massively ambitious for God’s exceedingly great glory, taking huge, huge steps of faith for your God.

Be Radical.

 

 

  1. which to some people means having the arrogance to believe that God still speaks in this sin-tarnished, Christ-rejecting world  (back)
  2. despite the claims of very foolish theologians that do not know God has much as they think they do, and face the severity of discouraging the Church from believing, trusting and obeying what they see in the Scriptures  (back)